April 18th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton accepts Indiana debate invitation

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Hillary Clinton accepted an invitation Friday to debate Barack Obama in Indiana ahead of the state’s May 6 primary, at an event sponsored by the Indiana Debate Commission, CNN and PBS.

As of Friday, Obama had not committed to participate in the debate.

A senior Clinton aide said the New York senator would appear at the debate on April 24, two days after the Pennsylvania primary. The commission offered April 24 as one possible date for the event, but noted in the invitations sent to Clinton and Obama that “we can work with you on the dates.”

“We are looking forward to a good debate in Indiana,” said Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director. “We hope that Senator Obama’s poor performance in Philadelphia does not dissuade him from doing future debates.”

Wolfson was critiquing Obama’s performance Wednesday night when the two Democratic presidential hopefuls squared off in Philadelphia at a debate televised on ABC.

A senior Obama aide said that no decision has been made whether or not the Illinois senator will accept the Indiana invitation.

“There have been 21 Democratic debates and four one-on-one debates with Senator Clinton, all televised nationally,” said Bill Burton, Obama’s communications director. “Our focus will be on meeting with voters in Indiana and hearing directly from them. We will make a decision about debates shortly.”

In the latest CNN Pennsylvania Poll of Polls, Obama is trailing Clinton by five points - four days before that state’s primary. Obama leads Clinton in the race for delegates as well as the overall popular vote.

In Indiana, there has not been enough polling for a CNN Indiana Poll of Polls. But a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll showed that Obama had a five point lead over Clinton, although the survey had a four point margin of error.

The commission is a consortium of Indiana television stations and newspapers. The debate would air live nationally on CNN and PBS and on public television stations statewide, and made available to every commercial broadcast station in Indiana.

In addition to the media organizations, the commission is comprised of citizen groups, including the League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. frank

    It is obvious that the ability and experience of Sen. Clinton is much better and stronger than those of Obama, a junior Sen. It is difficult to understand why so many still chose Obama. This may indicate that gender discrimination still exists in US.

    April 18, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. Carrie Pa

    “We are looking forward to a good debate in Indiana,” said Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director. “We hope that Senator Obama’s poor performance in Philadelphia does not dissuade him from doing future debate."

    I am so tired of Howard Wolfson. The Clinton Machine and press have spinned Obama's performance to far. Just as equally as Hillary, I thought that Obama did well at the debate. Everyone that I know thought that Obama did well. After the debate, public polls showed that Obama did well. Just like the other debates, it was TV ratings for the networks. No debate on the real issues. Just a waste of time!

    April 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. Peter of Oregon


    Obama's performance was fine.

    The fact that one of the moderators in the ABC debate was a former member of Bill Clinton's administration, and the debate's obvious bias toward Hillary Clinton was a poor performance on ABC's part.

    Will we see anything substantive come out of this proposed debate?

    April 18, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. gary


    April 18, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. Bitter Woman in Carlisle Pennsylvania


    April 18, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Jacqueline

    Just saw the Huffington Post!!! Hillary is shameless!!!

    April 18, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Sharon Minnesota

    Can't wait, it's like a Desperate Housewives soapopera except we would probably call it Desperate Obama's Expose'.

    Go Hillary

    April 18, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. Ted Canada

    For those watching the debate, When Hillary speaks, for a minute or two shut the volume off and watch her face and expressions. You will get a very interesting picture. After this expereince, if you think she should be the next president, please send us an email up here to Canada because we have some prime land we want to sell you. Just 300 miles east off of the eastern coast. We have hectors and hectors VERY CHEAP! all you need a little bit of fill...

    April 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. JD

    The Clinton campaign doesn't have nearly the broad-based fundraising appeal that Sen. Obama's campaign does. Debates offer her free media. Of course she wants as many as possible, because there's no other way she can get her face on TV. She'd have one for every state, if she could.

    Where's the North Carolina debate? Is there going to be one for Oregon, as well?

    April 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. dave

    yes, as one posting said, if obama wins Penn, or they basically they tie it at 50/50, then future debates in NC and IND might be moot.... but if she does win PENN, and he refuses future debates, she will have him hemmed in... basically, like, what is the guy afraid of debating the girl about? and his pride and ego will then be compelled to debate.... not a pretty picture, but that is how the human psyche operates.... and, if he refuses to debate, that can be seen as a slap or insult to the voters of IND and NC..... so we could still be looking at future debates in Oregon and Montana, and Puerto Rico.... maybe obama and HRC should both brush up on their Spanish one-liners and their Spanish zingers for a puerto rico debate about may 20..... you gotta love it!

    April 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  11. Sharon Osmond

    I hope there is NOT another debate. It is a waste of time. It has been said they all agree on the issues for the most part .So WHY? I don't want to see another debate EVER. In the beginning they were useful but not now. For Clinton it will be the same old thing ? What can I say AGAIN to throw a little mud. ? It is disgusting.
    When he says NO I know what they will be saying. OH no he is afraid of me . He is smarter than this to waste his time and the publics time. Go spend the money on underpriviledged children. It would be a wiser thing to do

    April 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  12. Mary

    I would rather watch and listen to a debate so that I can make my own decision on how well I think a candidate did. I do not like it when people on CNN tell me who they think won. Everyone has their own bias and this is reflected in their comments.

    Keep the debates coming, each time you learn a little more about the candidates. Maybe that is what some people are afraid of.

    April 18, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  13. Franck

    By the way, did I see Hillary's podium sign read "Esperanza" I belive this means HOPE!!
    Oh yeah, now she wants to Hope?

    HOPE = OBAMA 08!!

    April 18, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. John

    Obama supporters are wreaking havock and impediment on his forward motion.When Obama is out performed in a debate;then they -supps want nothing to do with debates.Ok one supp is bold enough to go into vetting the debate,kind of spying,if that is what their King Obama wants to participate in such debate??? Wow Americans wake up on this blatant arrogance to choke freedom of speech to death.Hillary supporters challenge CNN to moderate abuse,insults,derogatory language and name calling.Hillary according to them is a liar! When Obama ignores truth,heis by his supporters standard is on a Liar????? He just misspoke!! what a travesty,in cooking the truth.Is this the President America wants???NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!! America knows better,and is not going to watch it!!!!

    April 18, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. jim

    she will do the same thing in indiana that she did in pa debate
    have chelsea the elitist and fast eddie look at questions and take them back stage so hilary can make notes just like she did in pa debate
    didnt u see her reading her notes.. pennsylvania voters did

    April 18, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. Swiss in Canada

    Ye, please, another one.! Wow....I am so bored in snowy Canada....
    Go Obama!!!!

    April 18, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. Lori

    Although I am a registered Republican, I am really ready to make a change and vote for Obama. Like the vast majority of those posting, I am just sickened by the bashing. What strikes me as funny is that Hillary wants another debate. Why? They didn't actually debate the other night. It was 3 on 1 for 40+ minutes. If Obama declines the debate, I personally wouldn't hold it against him. Of course then all those Clinton supporters would say "He's just scared." I can honestly say I've never been a Hillary fan. Even though I think alot of her ideas are wonderful, she actually is a self-serving person. Bill back in the White House...well, he sickened me with all of his affairs and made a fool out of our country as well as his wife. Although not removed from office, he was impeached. I don't think it bodes well for us to welcome him back there. Obama has wonderful ideas...and quite honestly, they don't differ too much from Hillary's. She criticizes Obama for not wearing a flag pin? Where is her's? She "whines" about being bombarded with tough questions and yet she turns around and encouraged it this past week. And people thought Kerry was wishy-washy! McCain is a good man, a great American, a true war hero, but I just can't stand the thought of another 4 years of the same Bush politics. Yes, I did vote for him the first time (I'm sorry). Obama brings hope...and encourages Americans to take back their country. One man cannot change the world for the better or for the worse. Maybe with Obama, and with all of us taking responsibility, we can change our country for the better. I guess what I am saying is "Yes, we can"!

    April 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. bill pike

    the last debate had zero "questions" about our country and those 2 idiots who asked the questions should enlist in the army and head to Iraq?? i think of the great debates over our country's life and how far we have gone backwards when the world is burning. AND YES WE ARE BITTER WITH THOSE 2 IDIOTS WHO ASKED THE QUESTIONS and if you do not know the meaning of the word bitter, it is to have a bad taste in your mouth. the debates needs to be about ending the war, the economy, health programs, the baby boomer's turning 65, the homeless and not he said she said. WHERE DID THESE 2 COME FROM, I DO KNOW WHERE THEY SHOULD GO. NO MORE DEBATES IF LIKE WHAT WE WITNESSED.

    April 18, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. Former Republican

    Mitt Romney is just so pathetic to even try to attack President Obama. Mitt Romney is just jealous that President Obama is doing an Awesome job. Mitt Romney thinks that McCain will put him on the ticket if he attacks the democrats, hahaha but that will never happen. Even if it, clearly President Obama will beat them both whoever President Obama's running mate is. Obama will win. I am confident, and so are my fellow former republicans who have changed as Obamacans to support President Obama for a new generation of leadership that is powerful and confident.

    April 18, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. Mary in AL

    NO more debates! There is no true purpose for a debate. Let's campaign.

    April 18, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  21. Kirk

    We Have Heard for the most part the issues . We All kinow where they stand . Obama has not answered important questions , Concerning His ties to the Anti-American Crowd he has tied himself and profited from . I Can Speak For Myself . I WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA UNTILL I KNOW MORE ABOUT THESE TIES .

    Hillary , OR McCain 08

    April 18, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Barbara, San Jose

    Obama won't debate because he knows he can't.
    And if he wants to steer the debate to other issues a good debater could do it. He gets sucked in and looks like a loser.
    He needs a prepared statement. He has no real grasp on the issues.

    It's only a matter of time that he runs out of gas.
    Its hard to let go of the idea of hope, for all of us. But in reality he offers the least hope for a Democratic victory in Nov. His supporters know it, that's why this all makes them so crazy.

    April 18, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. ellianna


    April 18, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. jim in pennsylvania

    please pennsylvania end this three ring circus

    April 18, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Yes We Can


    April 18, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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